Deloitte chief executive David Sproul is attending to “recognise the importance of the UK-US economic relationship and the close business links between the two countries,” a spokesperson for the firm said.
Steve Varley, EY UK chairman, is attending; along with KMPG’s UK chairman Bill Michael. PwC’s UK leader Kevin Ellis was invited but cannot attend due to a prior commitment.
The Financial Times, which first reported the dinner, said the location is being kept secret for security reasons but there is increasing speculation that it will be held at Blenheim Palace.
There are expected to be mass protests across the UK next week when president Trump arrives, with reports that he is specifically avoiding London where tens of thousands are predicted to take to the streets.
The FT reported that some business leaders are worried that attending the dinner will hurt their reputation
“I understand why the government have to entertain Trump but I certainly don’t want to,” said Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of Lastminute.com who rejected her invitation.
There has been pressure on prime minister Theresa May to cancel the visit of president Trump on several occasions, for among other issues; his retweeting of videos posted by far-right extremist group Britain First; allegedly calling El Salvador, Haiti and some African nations “sh*thole countries”; and criticising London mayor Sadiq Kahn after a terrorist attack on the city.
The UK government, however, is more dependant than ever on good trans-Atlantic relations as it seeks a trade deal post-Brexit. May is also currently fighting to save her leadership after both the Brexit minister David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson resigned within 24 hours of each other over May’s Brexit stance.